TV Schedule: Tuesday, Jan. 19, 6:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Arena: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, RI
With everything to play for in the Big East, the Butler Bulldogs travel to face off with the Providence Friars on Tuesday night. Respectively ranked No. 7 and No. 5 in the conference standings, a win in this one could be the difference between a top three seed in the Big East tournament and finishing in the bottom five.
Both Providence and Butler have lost two of their last three games, but still look to be headed towards the 2016 NCAA tournament with solid non-conference records and a distinct lack of “bad’ losses. The Big East is arguably the most difficult conference in college basketball from top to bottom, so a couple of losses here and there in conference play is not going to hurt them too much down the road.
The Friars, however, boast the better conference record at 3-2 and should come into this game hungry for a much needed win. Providence is coming off a disappointing loss to the Seton Hall Pirates in which they shot for a horrible 30.1 percent from the field. Ben Bentil continued to look great, as did Kris Dunn, but the other players struggled offensively and it showed in the final score of 81-72.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, have struggled to open conference play, but have faced more difficult opposition than the Friars. Butler’s previous losses have come to Providence, the Xavier Bulldogs and the Villanova Wildcats. When Butler’s offense is on, they are one of the best teams in the country, averaging 84.2 points per game.
Unfortunately for Butler, the Friars already defeated Butler in Indianapolis and should be more than comfortable facing this team at home. Providence wins big, as the Big East starts to take shape.
Prediction: Providence 88, Butler 72